On Gratitude, Rest & Relaxation, and Dolce Far Niente

On Gratitude, Rest & Relaxation, and Dolce Far Niente

I am doing double-duty today and rolling my Tuesday Tips email and Thursday podcast episode into one. I am tired and ready for a break! New Tuesday Tips will be resuming on January 5th and new podcast episodes will resume on January 7th.

Thank you to everyone who has subscribed and downloaded episodes regularly and people who’ve dipped in occasionally on Stitcher or Spotify to interact with an episode that was meaningful to them.  I am truly grateful!

Key topics:

✔️ I’m taking a break for the holiday season. New episodes will resume on Thursday, January 7th.
✔️ As we have gotten more disconnected from the seasons, we have forgotten how to properly hibernate. Nature is resting now… shouldn’t we?
✔️ To me, part of Dolce Far Niente (the sweetness of doing nothing) is the relaxation of being your authentic self and doing whatever YOU WANT to do simply because you want to.
✔️ If ever there was a year to pray for or meditate on peace and joy, this is it.

Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/

 

Transcription by Otter.ai:

 

Hello, hello and welcome to today’s episode of the Causey Consulting Podcast. I’m your host, Sara Causey and I’m also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. I’m doing a bit of double duty this week and rolling my Tuesday Tips email and my podcast episode into one because the holidays are imminently upon us and like everyone else, I want to take a break. After today’s episode, I will be back live and in living color on Thursday, January 7th with new content, but between now and then, I will be resting and taking a much needed break and so will this podcast. A couple of things that I want to accomplish in this episode. First and foremost is simply to say thank you, for everybody who subscribes to this podcast and regularly downloads our episodes, to people who just dip in occasionally on Stitcher or Spotify to interact with content that’s really meaningful or helpful to them. Thank you, I really do appreciate it. And I’m grateful to all of you. I’m also really grateful to everyone who’s taken the time to slide into my DMs on LinkedIn or Facebook, anyone who sent me an email to say that something touched them or it helped them to think about an issue or a problem in a different way. I’m very touched by any correspondence that I receive. And so thank you to everyone that’s taken the time to interact with this podcast. Please know that I check the emails and the stats regularly and I’m so thankful and so humbled at the terrific response that I’ve had from doing this scrappy little podcast. I’m grateful for each and every one of you and I hope that you have a tremendously wonderful holiday season. The second thing that I want to accomplish in this episode is to encourage you to relax, unwind, unplug, and really be kind and gracious to yourself during this holiday season. 2020 has been odd, whether it’s been somehow against all the possibilities a really fabulous year for you, or whether it’s been extremely difficult. A lot of people right now are underemployed or unemployed. They’ve had loved ones who’ve been sick or loved ones who have passed away. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people. And this is a an opportune time of the year to rest, relax, unplug, and to get away from past years where you felt like everything about the holiday had to be perfect. If you didn’t cook the Christmas ham to exact specifications, it was gonna ruin everyone’s life. Or if you accidentally burned the Christmas cookies, it was a fate worse than death. It’s not. And I think that, if anything, the pandemic has really shown us that we can always distill things down to what’s most important in life. And I really want you to have the opportunity this holiday season to rest, relax, and turn the pressure off. In that spirit, there’s a couple of things that I want to share with you. One is a passage from a book about the Yule by Susan Pesznecker. I think I’m saying that correctly– if I’m not then I apologize. I want to read this passage to you because I think it’s highly relevant. So here we go. And when she says “they” she is referring to the ancestors people from the past people who came before us. “In the spring they planted crops, harvesting them through the summer and fall. As fall progressed. They wintered in storing food, gathering fuel for winter fires and putting their fields to bed. When winter came, the people took to their dwellings and pass the cold dark months living off of their stored bounty, telling stories around the fire makes making risky hunting for raise for scarce winter meat and hoping that they had prepared enough food and firewood to last until spring. Going to bed early helped conserve candles, oils and other light sources and rising late staying snug in their beds helps save heating fuel. Their foodstuffs changed with the winter season to focusing on gourds and other vegetables, grains and meats that could be preserved or stored in a very real way they hibernated their daily rhythms quieting and falling in sync with the sleeping world around them. Today, many of us have forgotten how to hibernate successfully. We maintain the same routine year round and people often grumble about the winter months instead of embracing winters place in the great seasonal wheel. In our modern world we can maintain a consistent temperature in our homes year round, a flip of a switch providing summer bright lighting late into the winter night. Our diet may not change either. We can eat raspberries and spring greens year round, if we’re willing to pay for them. These actions threaten to pull us desperately out of sync with winters rhythms. And this may cause problems. In fact, one of the newest theories regarding seasonal affective disorder links it to fighting against winners rhythms, instead of embracing them.” End quote. That’s really powerful. I have some friends that are really big on the holidays, other friends that are not. Some that like the wintertime and the cold weather, some that don’t… it seems to be quite polarizing. People either really love this time of the year, and they get into it whole hog, or they really dislike it, and can’t wait for it to be over with. And to me, it’s a little bit silly. You know, it’s like how– I’m about to do it again– how the old timers used to say, don’t wish your life away. You know, when you’re sitting there on Monday waiting for it to be Friday because you just want the weekend to be back. Like, that’s a reflection of not being happy with your job or the company or the work that you’re doing. You shouldn’t wish for your life to go by faster. And it’s the same thing with the seasons. I think it’s interesting in that book how she points out that new research suggests that Seasonal Affective comes from trying to fight against the reality of what is instead of embracing it and figuring out your own traditions and things that you can do to enjoy the wintertime. You don’t have to overnight try to become a cold weather person or try to fall in love with everything Christmas if it’s not something you don’t like. But you should have your own rituals and your own ways of having fun and treats that you give to yourself that make this time of the year special for you. And I agree with her, frankly, that we’ve lost the ability to hibernate effectively, we think we need to be up and running and going and doing and when we are lazy, it’s much more of a sedentary, destructive type of way. You know how people say sitting is the new smoking? I think that’s true. The human body in my opinion was not meant to be cramped up in a cubicle, or slouched behind a desk under fluorescent lighting for eight to nine hours a day. It just wasn’t. You should have bursts of activity, followed by periods of time where you rest. That is nature’s way. If we think about the spring and summer months as times where we’re outdoors, we’re working in the garden, we’re tending crops, we’re doing the outdoor activities. If you don’t live on a farm, you don’t have a big garden, maybe you’re outside playing golf or frisbee or running in the park. Now in the wintertime, we’re indoors more and it really is a perfect time for introspection and rest. It’s a strange contradiction that we tend to conflate real rest and leisure time with laziness and sloth. But somehow if we’re stuck behind a cubicle, hunched over with bad posture, trying to surreptitiously surf on Facebook and Twitter when the boss is not looking, well, that’s not lazy. To me, it’s really the exact opposite. There’s a time to be outside working in the garden or playing in the park. And there’s a time to rest– there’s a time to go to bed early and get some good high quality sleep. And that time when you’re just hanging out inside, maybe it’s cold and and rainy or snowy outside and you’re stretched down in the recliner with some hot tea or some hot cocoa. In my mind, that’s not laziness and it’s not a waste of your time. It’s much more a waste of time in my opinion to sit hunched over in the cubicle trying to surreptitiously play on Facebook so that your boss won’t chew you out. I’m so glad to be out of that world. And this reminds me of a great scene in Eat Pray Love where Liz is having a conversation with some of her newfound friends in a barber shop. And one of the friends talks about the Italian concept of dolce far niente only you know, said with a proper Italian accent rather than a vaguely Russian one. It’s like anytime I try to say something in another language it always comes out with a Russian accent, so picture it said by someone with a good Italian accent as opposed to a thick Russian one. Dolce far niente, ! Anyway, I’m gonna play a clip from that film. Especially if you haven’t seen it, you’ll enjoy this. “I have been in Rome for three weeks. All I’ve done is learn a few Italian words and eat. You feel guilty because you are American. You don’t know how to enjoy yourself. I beg your pardon. Americans you work too hard. You get burned out. Then you come home and spend the whole weekend in your pajamas in front of the TV. It’s not far off actually.” He makes a pretty good summary doesn’t he? We rush around and we work Monday through Friday, and then on the weekend, we plop down in our pajamas in front of the TV and turn into couch potatoes looking for the idiot box to entertain us. I mean, that book was written quite a while back, the film was made quite a while back and yet here we are, and it’s still quite true. My interpretation of dolce far niente is really more about getting comfortable in your own skin, figuring out what it is that you like to do, living in the present moment, not having to justify yourself to anyone else, just getting to know who you are, what you enjoy. Curling up with a good book, or maybe even some tawdry tabloid magazine, watching some silly movie you’ve seen 100 times just because you enjoy it, not for any greater or higher calling other than you want to have an afternoon to just chill or you want to have a nice quiet evening in, watch something that you really enjoy, indulge in a little comfort food just for its own sake. I have a friend who typically takes a one week long vacation every fall and it’s something historically that he looks forward to with a lot of gusto. And it’s his opportunity to get away from all of it, to not have to be an employee, husband, father, grandfather, brother, etc. It’s really his time to do what he wants, when he wants, and how he wants without having a lot of intrusion from the outside world. Kind of like his opportunity to go off to Walden Woods and be alone for a while. Because of the pandemic of course and changes in travel regulations and quarantines and finances, he wasn’t able to take that solitary vacation this year. And it really impacted his physical and mental well-being. And I think that sense of dolce far niente is so important, not only because it’s you getting to know yourself, and it’s you being who you are unimpeded, it’s also an opportunity to take off the mask. You may have heard me talk about this before or if you’ve ever worked with me in a coaching capacity, then I know you’ve heard me tell the story. But there’s a Japanese proverb about the three faces. There’s one face that you show to the public that anybody can see at any time, there’s a second more private one that you only show to close friends, close family members that you like, and your spouse, and there’s a third face that you only ever show to yourself, that face is known only to yourself and any higher power that you might believe in. But it never gets shown to anyone, not even your most intimate lover, not your spouse, not your best friend. It is strictly a private face. And I think the benefit to having like a solitary vacation or indulging in that sweetness of doing nothing is that you get to take off all of the masks. You get to be in that space where you can abide in the third face where there’s no artifice, there’s no pretending, there’s no trying, there’s no concealing. You’re just authentically who you are. That in and of itself is a beautiful thing. Oscar Wilde once said that loving yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance, and he’s not wrong. This holiday season, I wish you a time of relaxation, solitude if you want it, community and time with friends and family if you can do so safely and that’s something that you want, and peace. If ever there was a year to pray and meditate on peace and joy, it’s definitely this one. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share it. If you haven’t already, take a quick second to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now.

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